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Obikwelu fired up for Birmingham

14 February 2007

Olympic silver medallist Francis Obikwelu says he relishes the prospect of racing Craig Pickering and Jason Gardener in Birmingham on Saturday.

The trio's meeting in the 60m will be one of the highlights of the Norwich Union Grand Prix.

"Pickering has been fantastic so far this season but I will also be looking out for Gardener," said the Portuguese.

"He is a true champion and a true competitor and will be sure to bounce back to his best form soon."

Obikwelu, 28, won the 100m and 200m double at last year's European Championships in Gothenburg last year to go with his Olympic 100m silver medal from Athens.

The person who beat him into second place was Justin Gatlin, who has since tested positive for testosterone.

Now Obikwelu has his eyes on victory at August's World Championships in Japan, and he sees the Birmingham meeting as a good stepping stone towards that.

"My main goal for this year is to be world champion, and the grand prix should give me a chance to start warming up towards the main outdoor season," he said.

"I am a strong championship runner and I am one of the few athletes in the world who can run several championship rounds."

"A one-off race is much different, and this will be a proper test this Saturday. Pickering and Gardener have already run a number of times this season and are looking good."

"It is sure to be a very quick race and tough competition; I am not taking anything for granted this early in the season."

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